Brett Davis- US PRESSWIRE
During the NFL draft this offseason, the Green Bay Packers used a majority of their picks on defensive players. With most of the attention being put around first-round draft pick Nick Perry, cornerback Casey Hayward seemed to be forgotten. Hayward was drafted in the third round by the Packers out of Vanderbilt and was expected to be the nickel or dime corner for the defense.
With the injury to Sam Shields and now Charles Woodson, Hayward is expected to see much more playing time. Shields should be back in the near future, but Woodson will be out for at least a month with a broken collarbone which means Hayward is most likely to fill Woodson’s spot.
Hayward has come out of no where in the past month, totaling four interceptions in the last three games which puts the rookie tied among the league leaders in interceptions. Most of his playing time has come on the outside, but with Woodson out his responsibilities might change and he might have to play some at the slot. However, Hayward says that he is ready for whatever the coaches ask him to do.
“I feel pretty comfortable,” Hayward said of playing both outside and inside. “The big thing is just knowing the defense. I feel like I have a grasp of the defense. I’m still trying to learn it like the back of my hand but, overall, I’m pretty much getting a grasp of it.”
Hayward has shown the that he is a great playmaker for this defense which was lacking turnovers during the first four weeks of the season. He disrupts many plays and has now become a force that opposing offenses have to look at when preparing to play the Packers. Since Hayward has seen more playing time, Green Bay has moved up from last in yards allowed to being in the middle of the pack. Hayward has been a huge force, but he also still knows that playing with his teammate Tramon Williams that many footballs will be coming his way.
“They can throw the ball at me all they want,” he said. “They’re going to catch a few, but I feel like I’m going to make some plays as well.”
This weekend the Packers will be going against the Jacksonville Jaguars who are ranked last in passing offense and only have six passing touchdowns on the season. The Jaguars offense has been staggering this entire season and this will be another great opportunity for Hayward to have another statement game.
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